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Research, Scholarly and Creative Activities, and Discovery (RSCAD) News

September 17, 2015

The weekly RSCAD newsletter provides the latest research news, funding opportunities and academic trends.

K-State in the News

Acre Designs Launches Indiegogo Campaign for NetZero Home

09/10/15 MSN Money
"The Acre Designs team is poised to disrupt the new home construction industry with their innovative business model, first-in-class management team, and visionary approach for how we can all live in more stylish, energy efficient and affordable homes," said the Director of Kansas State University's Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship Chad Jackson.

TechAccel Marks One Year Anniversary by Announcing Two Deals to Advance Transformative Science

09/06/15 Yahoo! Finance
TechAccel has entered into a licensing agreement for a bio-pesticide with Kansas State University. The agreement between the two organizations secures an exclusive license on the patent entitled, "Doubled-stranded RNA-based Nanoparticles for Insect Gene Silencing." The bio-pesticide is novel in that it is built on a naturally occurring and biodegradable platform, while effective in eliminating damage to crops and plants from a variety of insects. TechAccel expects to sublicense the technology to global leaders in crop and plant protection.

EPA Awards Green Infrastructure Grants of $20,000 to Kansas State University and Mississippi State University

09/10/15 U.S. EPA
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded grants of $20,000 each to Kansas State University and Mississippi State University to carry out green infrastructure demonstration and training projects. At Kansas State, faculty and students will create “living laboratories” to conduct green infrastructure monitoring at two on-campus sites. Students from different disciplines will collaborate on the monitoring program. They will record and analyze data to gauge performance, then develop communication materials, including brochures and a touch screen at the museum.

Obama Pledges $160M to Develop 'Smart Cities' Apps

09/14/15 Yahoo! Finance
The National Science Foundation is also giving the University of Chicago $3 million to support its "Array of Things" project in Chicago. This network of 500 Internet-connected sensors deployed throughout Chicago will continuously measure the physical environment at the city block level. The data collected will be used for researching "smart city" applications. Other grants will be used to help research applications for self-driving cars and ways to reduce traffic congestion. One such award, to Kansas State University, will fund research on novel approaches to integrate distributed power sources, such as rooftop solar panels and storage batteries, with the existing electric power grid.

$1.85 Million NIH Grant Funds Project to Study Virus Interaction With the Immune System and Identify Poxvirus

09/09/15 EurekAlert!
The National Institutes of Health are funding a Kansas State University research project that is looking at viruses that have the potential to be the next smallpox as well as an effective weapon against cancer. Stefan Rothenburg, assistant professor of biology, was recently awarded more than $1.85 million in funding from the NIH for the project "Importance of Species-Specific Interactions of PKR with Poxvirus Inhibitors for Virus Replication and Host Range."

From Our Peers

Records: Energy Department Struck By Cyber Attacks

09/10/15 MSN.com
Manimaran Govindarasu, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Iowa State University who studies cybersecurity issues involving the power grid, said the root compromises represent instances where intruders gained "super-user" privileges.  

Navigating Oklahoma's Newest Industry at the WBT Open Innovation Forum: Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)
09/08/15 Bloomberg
With unmanned aerial systems now in rapid development stages, international industry experts and leaders will gather Sept. 28-29 in Stillwater for the second consecutive year to explore today's UAS economic opportunities. The two-day event at the Wes Watkins Center on the Oklahoma State University campus will showcase the latest UAS technology from research institutions and startups seeking partnerships to license, sell and develop their innovations. Industry leaders will give insight into where the industry is headed, how communities are building development hubs, the mindset of capital investors and the state of public policy and regulations.
Spheroid Stem Cell Production Sows Hope for IPF Treatment

09/09/15 Bloomberg
In a small pilot study, researchers from North Carolina State University have demonstrated a rapid, simple way to generate large numbers of lung stem cells for use in disease treatment. This method of harvesting and growing a patient's own lung stem cells shows promise in mice for treating idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), and could one day provide human IPF sufferers with an effective, less invasive method of treatment for their disease.

Bone Cancer Research Legacy Established Just In Time For Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

09/09/15 Bloomberg
The understudied field of limb-loss prevention made a huge leap last month, one that promises to change the future for both pet and human patients facing bone cancer and severe traumas. The Limb Preservation Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to helping individuals in limb- and life-threatening situations caused by trauma, tumor or infection,   announced the appointment of Dr. Nicole Ehrhart to Colorado State University's Ross M. Wilkins, M.D. Limb Preservation University Chair in Musculoskeletal Biology and Oncology. The announcement brings hope at an appropriate time, as September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month.  

Clemson University Researchers Land $970,000 to Develop Clean Water Technology

09/08/15 EurekAlert!
A research team in Clemson University's College of Engineering and Science has received $970,000 to create new technology that could play a key role in providing safe water to a planet where one in six people still do not have access to it. Researchers will work toward developing the world's first computer models capable of testing the chemical coatings and geometric designs on membranes without having to create a prototype in the lab.

New Funding Opportunities

The Funding Connection

The Funding Connection is a weekly publication of Research & Sponsored Programs. For more information about individual programs and for applications, please e-mail research@k-state.edu or call 785 532-6195.

Highlight from this week's Funding Connection: 
The National Science Foundation's (NSF's) Major Research Instrumentation program requests proposals for the acquisition/development of a shared instrument that is too costly and/or not appropriate for support through other NSF programs. Also, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation released the key focus areas for its Global Grand Challenges Program.
Check out this week's new funding opportunities. 

RSCAD Trending Topics

Mildly Interdisciplinary

Many academics these days say that much of the most exciting scholarship is interdisciplinary. But some fear that doctoral students feel obliged to stay within disciplinary lines. A new study finds that increasing numbers of Ph.D. students are pursuing interdisciplinary projects for their dissertations. But the study also finds that most of the interdisciplinary work is in fields that are close to the Ph.D. students' primary field — suggesting less dramatic groupings of disciplines than some may imagine.

How Art Reveals the Limits of Neuroscience

These days neural approaches to art — so-called neuroaesthetics — are all the rage. We find it somehow compelling to think that the brain holds the answers to the questions about, well, everything that matters to us, including art. It’s hard not to be impressed by the excitement scientists feel as they try to hunt down aesthetic experience in the brain using the advanced methods and technologies of cognitive science. But art is an elusive quarry, and it leaves its clumsy predator flailing in the dust. In vain will you find art, or our experience of art, illuminated in these empirical investigations. This points out not just the limits of the neural approach to the arts, but also the limits of neural approaches to human experience in general.

When Congress Puts NASA on Hold, Planets Don’t Wait

NASA flourishes when it is given a clear goal and the long term support to make it happen. Erratic funding streams add an unstable element to a process where instability means the loss of irreplaceable hardware and the interruption of research.

Online Security Braces for Quantum Revolution

It is an inevitability that cryptographers dread: the arrival of powerful quantum computers that can break the security of the Internet. Although these devices are thought to be a decade or more away, researchers are adamant that preparations must begin now. Computer-security specialists are meeting in Germany this week to discuss quantum-resistant replacements for today’s cryptographic systems — the protocols used to scramble and protect private information as it traverses the web and other digital networks. Although today’s hackers can, and often do, steal private information by guessing passwords, impersonating authorized users or installing malicious software on computer networks, existing computers are unable to crack standard forms of encryption used to send sensitive data over the Internet.

Embrace of Deception in Experiments Puts Social Scientists in an Ethical Bind

Judges were sent letters asking them to recuse themselves from cases. Voters received fliers just before an election that broadcast candidates’ party affiliations. Drivers were told to break traffic laws. All are examples of studies engineered by university researchers and presented this month at the annual conference of the American Political Science Association, in San Francisco. All fall under the practice of "field experimentation," an increasingly popular tactic in the social sciences that has been credited with valuable discoveries about how people truly behave in real-world situations.

ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit

The ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit is an annual conference and technology showcase that brings together experts from different technical disciplines and professional communities to think about America’s energy challenges in new and innovative ways. The 2016 summit is February 29 through March 2 in Washington, D.C.